We’ve played a lot of gacha games, and that means we’ve spent a lot of time in fantasy worlds filled with archers, mages, assassins, and so on swinging swords, loosing arrows, and hurling spells that look like fireworks.
And we love it, but we’re always in the market for something new. Dragon Flight, from LINE Games, is a welcome twist on the typical gacha game formula, swapping out the fantasy RPG cliches for a refreshing blast of bullet-hell.
In case you’re not up on your arcade terminology, that means you spend your time – or some of it – flying vertically up the screen taking out waves of enemies. You fire automatically, and to keep things even simpler your movement is restricted to the horizontal axis, so all you have to worry about is taking out baddies and dodging projectiles.
Your main ship is a dragon. A dragon that fires bullets. You can take a formation of two characters into battle, with one active at a time, and you can augment these with two hatchlings – small unmanned dragons that sit on your flanks and produce extra firepower.
During action sequences, Dragon Flight looks like a traditional, accessible bullet-hell shooter, but these make up just one part of the game.
As with any gacha RPG, you’ll spend at least as much time off the battlefield as on it, spending the gold and loot you’ve earned on levelling up your heroes and their weapons, equipping items, researching Crests, summoning heroes, hatching hatchlings, and so on.
Plenty of Modes
There are numerous modes. Arena is PvP, while squad is a sort of guild system where the aim is to join or form a squad in order to earn special rewards. It’s worth pointing out that you’re never directly fighting other players – just competing with their performances.
League Battle is the main mode, and it’s split into League Battles proper and stages. These stages are where most of the variety can be found.
They come with a range of different objectives, such as taking down a succession of super-tough elite dragons, pummelling a great big pudding for easy rewards, and completing traditional bullet-hell stages complete with bosses, waves of enemies, and pulsating patterns of colorful ordinance.
You can complete each of these for free a certain number of times each day, with the aim of taking your looting gains into the League Battle main event.
League Battle is a challenging, conventional bullet-hell mode in which you’re fighting for rank against other players. Interestingly, the precise conditions of League Battle are refreshed every day. Your goal is to defeat the Dark Lord and reach Cataclysm, at which point various Cataclysm effects are unleashed, introducing special boss and monster types.
Cataclysm effects are elemental, and impact both you and your enemies. For instance, on a given day your Water Hatchlings might enjoy an attribute enhancement, while the bosses you encounter might acquire the temporary ability to hide behind objects.
This system mixes the gameplay up, forces you to compose your squads with care, and ensures that no two days are the same in terms of what’s waiting for you in League Battle. It’s pretty neat.
When you’re not barrelling through the skies, unleashing untold flaming death and weaving nimbly through enemy fire, you’ll spend your time managing your characters and inventory.
As with any gacha game, there are countless bits of tweaking and housework to do to keep yourself in tiptop condition. You’ll need to hatch hatchlings, equip gear, research Crests, formulate squads, level your heroes up, and so on.
Equippable items include garments and weapons, all with their own attributes, strengths, and weaknesses. You can enchant them with Magic Stones or Crystals, and enhance them by sacrificing other items, or simply sell them for gold.
Then there are rewards to collect by completing achievements, quests, and daily missions. You know the drill – Dragon Flight is as rich and engrossing as they come in terms of gacha RPG mechanics, and you can sink a lot of time into its systems.
But Dragon Flight’s USP is the way it channels these abundant and complex backroom shenanigans into a satisfying arcade experience, with your firepower getting more and more explosively devastatingly as you level up and build your army. It’s hugely gratifying to watch a once-tough enemy dissolve like cotton candy.
You can also claim 100 crystals for free by entering the code DRAG-ONFL-IGHT-GLOB on the Coupon page – which you can find by going to the ‘Other’ option on the right side of the screen. This offer is available until the 31st of November.
Dragon Flight will appeal to you if you’re a fan of gacha games generally, but it also has something to offer for fans of more action-oriented games. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a gacha gamer, this one is well worth a look. It might just surprise you.